A JUDGE at Ballymena Magistrates Court has told a man, originally from Romania, who he sentenced for a number of traffic offences: “You seem to have a difficulty obeying the road traffic rules of this country”.
The judge was speaking to Marin Ghemant (31), with addresses on three charge sheets listed as Bridge Street in Ballymena and Ravenhill Avenue in Belfast on a fourth charge sheet.
The defendant, who the court heard works at Moy Park in Ballymena, appeared at Ballymena Magistrates Court on foot of four warrants.
The court was told the warrants were issued “by arrangement”.
A defence lawyer said the defendant had gone to Romania for three weeks and when he returned back to Northern Ireland he noticed a missed call and contacted his legal representative.
The lawyer said the defendant had a “bit of a chequered history” having failed to attend with Probation in the past and there had been a number of warrants. The lawyer was worried that if the case was further adjourned they would be “back to square one”.
He said the defendant had a “fairly limited record”.
The defendant pleaded guilty to all matters.
In April 2017 he used a Toyota Starlet at Delhi Street in Belfast without insurance and there was also a driving licence offence.
In July 2017 he used a Toyota Starlet at Carmel Street in Belfast without insurance and had a driving licence offence.
In September and November 2018 the defendant had driven a Volkswagen Polo and a Vauxhall Vectra, respectively, whilst disqualified at Great Northern Street and Library Street in Belfast, and was uninsured.
In January this year he used a Ford Fiesta without insurance in the area of North Road in Ballymena and again there was a driving licence offence.
Regarding April 2017 at 6.50 in the evening, the prosecutor said police responded to a report of a vehicle doing “handbrake turns” at Delhi Street and when they arrived a vehicle was parked outside an address.
Ghemant confirmed he owned the vehicle and had been driving and he told police he planned to insure the vehicle the next day and said his driving licence was coming the next week via post.
In July 2017 the Starlet was pulled over at Carmel Street and Ghemant admitted to police he had no insurance or driving licence and the vehicle was then seized as an uninsured vehicle.
Regarding September 2018 the prosecutor said the defendant was stopped by police and said he had a licence and insurance but failed to produce them and when police tried to contact him at the last known address they “were informed that he did not live there”.
Police then confirmed the defendant had been disqualified from driving in February 2018.
In November 2018 the defendant made full admissions to police regarding the offences on that date.
In January this year police signaled for a Ford Fiesta to stop at North Road in Ballymena and checks showed on the system there were warrants out for Ghemant.
He confirmed to police he had neither insurance nor a licence.
The defence lawyer said “it doesn’t look good” and said there were quite a number of driving offences and his client seemed to have a “flagrant disregard” for insurance regulations.
The lawyer said he didn’t know “what it is like in Romania” but that the defendant is now aware of driving legislation here.
The lawyer said the defendant is originally from Romania with a one year old child with his current partner and a 9-year-old son with an ex-partner who lives in Downpatrick and is currently employed at Moy Park in Ballymena where he has worked for the last four years and is currently on night shifts.
District Judge Nigel Broderick told Ghemant: “You seem to have a difficulty obeying the road traffic rules of this country so I am going to warn you now if you breach these Orders I am about to give you you will go to prison.”
The defendant was given a five months jail term, suspended for a year; banned from driving for a year and fined £400.